Longhorn: Can Microsoft Deliver on Its Promises This Time?

Analysis: Redmond's next-gen Windows client evokes shades of its ill-fated 'Cairo' and 'Hailstorm' efforts. Will Redmond get it right by 2006?

When Microsoft slips the covers off Longhorn this week at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles, dont expect to see a polished desktop client ready to deliver intuitive, simplified computing to the masses. After all, Microsoft still has three more years to hone the final fit and finish for its next-generation Windows release.

Instead, expect to hear lots about Longhorns guts. The PDC audience is developers — about 9,000 strong, according to early estimates — and Microsoft is going to play to its attendees.

At the PDC, Microsoft brass is set to explain how the company is evolving three of its flagship products: Windows "Longhorn"; SQL Server "Yukon"; and Visual Studio "Whidbey." But as Microsoft is and will be known as the Windows company (at least for the foreseeable future), Longhorn is expected to be the star of the show.

There will be plenty of new developer fodder around Longhorn. But for some programmers who have been in the trenches for a while, a number of the "new" Longhorn features may seem quite familiar.

To read the full column, go to Microsoft Watch.

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